Belief in a Just World, Blaming the Victim, and Hate Crime Statutes
AbstractThe earliest economic theory of discrimination proposed the subsequently neglected idea of a "vicious circle" of discrimination (Myrdal, 1944). We draw on psychological evidence (that people derive utility from believing that the world is just) to propose a behavioral economic model in which the vicious circle envisaged by Myrdal can arise. We demonstrate the power of this approach through an application to the issue of whether and how to justify penalty enhancements for hate crimes against members of disfavored groups. The crucial assumption is that individuals engage in biased inference in order to preserve their Belief in a Just World, thus attributing the disproportionate victimization of a group to that group's negative characteristics, rather than to the hate-motivated preferences of offenders. In a simple two-period setting, we show that disproportionate victimization of the disfavored group in the first period can lead to additional crime against that group in the second period. The reason is that potential offenders' inferences about the victimized group's characteristics become more negative as a consequence of disproportionate victimization, raising the net benefits of crime against that group (under the assumption that the benefits of crime depend partly on the victimized group's perceived characteristics). Our main result is that penalty enhancements can reduce the social harm due to these extra crimes.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by De Gruyter in its journal Review of Law & Economics.
Volume (Year): 5 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.degruyter.com
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Carbonara, Emanuela & Pasotti, Piero, 2010. "Social dynamics and minority protection," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 317-328, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.